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February 5, 2017

After two weeks in office, President Trump is still settling into the White House and his new life as a public employee, and he is trying to bring more order to his relatively freewheeling West Wing operation, The New York Times reported Sunday, based on "interviews with dozens of government officials, congressional aides, former staff members, and other observers of the new administration." A man of routine, Trump typically retires to the residence at 6:30 p.m. to watch TV in his bathrobe or use his phone, the Times says, while his "aides confer in the dark because they cannot figure out how to operate the light switches in the Cabinet room."

After the chaotic rollout of his executive orders, especially the one restricting immigration and banning all refugees — put on hold by a federal judge over the weekend — Trump had demanded that White House chief of staff Reince Priebus "begin to put in effect a much more conventional White House protocol that had been taken for granted in previous administrations," Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman report, including looping the president in on executive orders earlier in the process and instituting "a new set of checks on the previously unfettered power enjoyed by [chief political strategist Stephen] Bannon and the White House policy director, Stephen Miller." They continue:

But for the moment, Mr. Bannon remains the president's dominant adviser, despite Mr. Trump's anger that he was not fully briefed on details of the executive order he signed giving his chief strategist a seat on the National Security Council, a greater source of frustration to the president than the fallout from the travel ban. It is partly because he is seen as having a clear vision on policy. But it is also because others who had been expected to fill major roles have been less confident in asserting their power. [The New York Times]

That last part was a reference to the gap expected to be filled by Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and a senior adviser, who is, the Times notes, "a father of young children who has taken to life in Washington, and, along with his wife, Ivanka Trump, has already been spotted at events around town." Bannon, for now, has filled that vacuum. For more details about Trump's first two weeks, including his keen interest in the Oval Office drapery, head over to The New York Times. Peter Weber

7:14 p.m. ET
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Late-night host and unlikely voice of the health-care debate Jimmy Kimmel was quick to tweet his support of Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine Monday evening, following her announcement that she won't vote for the the Graham-Cassidy health-care bill, the GOP's latest attempt to repeal ObamaCare.

"Thank you @SenatorCollins for putting people ahead of party," he tweeted. "We are all in your debt." Kimmel publicly entered the health-care debate earlier this year, after his son Billy was born with a heart condition and had to undergo emergency surgery when he was just three days old. Kimmel said he doesn't want anyone in the United States to worry about having to pay for life-saving care, and along with his wife, Molly McNearney, has tweeted his thanks to Republicans who have come out against the recent health-care bills — last week, after Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) announced he wouldn't vote for Graham-Cassidy, McNearney tweeted a photo of Billy in a robe with boxing gloves and thanked McCain for "fighting for kids like me." Catherine Garcia

6:38 p.m. ET
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine announced Monday evening she is opposed to both versions of the health-care bill sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) that aims to repeal ObamaCare.

In a statement, Collins said she has three major concerns about the proposal Graham and Cassidy authored last week and the newest version they came up with over the weekend: both make "sweeping changes and cuts in the Medicaid program," "open the door for states to weaken protections for people with pre-existing conditions," and "would lead to higher premiums and reduced coverage for tens of millions of Americans." Collins said there are "many flaws" with the Affordable Care Act that need to be fixed, and her "focus will remain on remedying these problems."

Her decision effectively kills the bill, as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said last week he did not support it, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said he's a "no," although he did make a list of demands that, if met, would change his mind. Catherine Garcia

3:50 p.m. ET

The Senate Finance Committee was forced to briefly delay its hearing on the Republican health-care bill on Monday after police were called in to remove loud protesters, many of whom were representing the disability rights group ADAPT, The Hill reports. The demonstrators chanted "no cuts to Medicaid, save our liberty" and "kill the bill, don't kill me," and could still be heard in the hallways after they'd been removed from the room.

Growing frustrated with the noise, panel chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) snapped: "If you want a hearing, you better shut up."

On Sunday, Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) released a new draft of their bill designed to win over a small handful of holdout GOP senators. Jeva Lange

3:03 p.m. ET

On Monday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders reassured Americans that President Trump did not actually declare war on North Korea via tweet.

Sanders' statement ran contrary to claims made earlier in the day by North Korea's foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho. Ri claimed Pyongyang now has the right to shoot down U.S. bombers in international airspace after Trump said Saturday that North Korea "won't be around much longer" if it keeps intimidating America.

"We've not declared war on North Korea," Sanders said. "And frankly the suggestion of that is absurd."

She went on to add: "It is never appropriate for a country to shoot down another country's aircraft when it's over international waters. Our goal is still the same. We continue to seek the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. That's our focus." Watch below. Jeva Lange

2:36 p.m. ET

After famously dubbing President Trump a "bum" over the weekend, LeBron James doubled down on his comments at the Cleveland Cavaliers' media event on Monday. "The thing that kind of frustrated me and pissed me off a little bit is that [Trump] used the sports platform to try to divide us," James said in response to Trump's comments about NFL protests as well as his decision to disinvite the Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry from the White House. "It is so amazing what sports can do for everyone, no matter what shape or size or race or ethnicity or religion or whatever … It just brings people together like none other."

James added: "We're not going to let — I'm not going to let ... one individual, no matter the power, no matter the impact that he should have or she should have, ever use sport as a platform to divide us."

James also stressed that everyone should try every day to make a difference for others. "We know this is the greatest country in the world," James said. "It's the land of the free. But we still have problems just like everybody else, and when we have those problems we have to figure out how to come together and be as great as we can be as a people. Because the people run this country. Not one individual. And damn sure not him." Jeva Lange

1:50 p.m. ET

The Supreme Court has removed President Trump's travel ban case from its schedule after the administration announced a new approach over the weekend. Sunday's presidential proclamation places indefinite travel restrictions on visitors from eight nations: Chad, Libya, Syria, Yemen, North Korea, Venezuela, Iran, and Somalia. Sudan was dropped from Trump's original travel bans, the latter of which expired Sunday, while Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela were added.

Oral arguments for the original ban had been scheduled to begin Oct. 10. The New York Times observed last week that the changes could "[complicate] the review by the justices and potentially [make] parts of the case moot even before" arguments began. Jeva Lange

1:30 p.m. ET

Cardi B overtook Taylor Swift on Monday to become the first female rapper since 1998 to top the Billboard Hot 100 without "the assistance of any other credited artists," Billboard reports. Cardi B's "Bodak Yellow (Money Moves)" beat out Swift's "Look What You Made Me Do" and earned a distinction that has been otherwise unmatched by a solo female rapper since Lauryn Hill's "Doo-Wop (That Thing)" 19 years ago. Cardi B is also the first female soloist to top the chart in an unaccompanied debut since Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass" crested in 2014.

Billboard adds that "Cardi B is only the fifth female rapper ever to lead the Hot 100 at all. After Hill, Lil' Kim ruled for five weeks in 2001 with Christina Aguilera, Mya, and P!nk on 'Lady Marmalade'; Shawnna reigned as featured on Ludacris' 'Stand Up,' which topped the Dec. 6, 2003, chart; and Iggy Azalea's introductory Hot 100 hit, 'Fancy,' featuring Charli XCX, led for seven weeks in 2014."

Cardi B's accomplishment is "a specific victory for women in hip-hop, but it also obliquely carries a win for hip-hop overall," BuzzFeed News writes. "This past July, according to Nielsen Music, hip-hop/R&B dethroned rock as the most popular genre when it comes to overall music consumption in the United States. Hip-hop's recent coronation comes as a result of the increasing popularity of streaming and, unsurprisingly, so does 'Bodak Yellow''s success."

Listen to the track below. Jeva Lange

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